As the cars arrived at The Space on Oak Lawn, they bypassed a mini-red carpet and were directed to a group of waiting car parkers on Friday, November 20. Some fella was interviewing Dallas Film Society President/CEO Lee Papert. Others took a pass on the red carpet and headed into The Space with Andy Warhol artwork on all the walls.
At one point someone claimed that The Art of Film honoree Isabella Rossellini had arrived and been led through a door backstage. It turned out that it was indeed Isabella, and the door led to a VIP meet and greet. With Isabella was her taller-than-tall daughter Elettra Wiedmann.
While the special peeps did the grip-and-grin with the model/actress/author/mom, others checked out the artwork.
On one wall was a photograph by Warhol of Rossellini. It was going for $4,000. Next to that was Warhol’s “Tattooed Women Holding Rose” that could be picked up for $18,000.
Across the way behind the Vodka bar was the framed artwork cover of Warhol’s “After The Party.” Nearby Dr. Michael Sills recalled his father, the late Stanley Sills, had partnered up with Warhol to publish the book. In appreciation for Stanley’s assistance, Warhol gave him two signed prints of “After The Party” from the book. In turn, Michael and his brother, David Sills, were each given one of the prints.
According to Christie’s Senior VP Capera Ryan, there were 30 pieces of art on exhibition and up for sale. What doesn’t sell in Dallas is headed to NYC. She pointed out that this opportunity would allow someone to own a Warhols for as little as $4,000.
She pointed out one piece, which Warhol used as a “calling card,” with the names of clients.
Art of Film Honorary Co-Chair Barbara Levenson rallied from under-the-weather status on Thursday to join husband Honorary Co-Chair/husband Stan Levenson and baby daughter Amy Levenson Krumholz.
Lynn McBee was still rocking and rolling despite having been subbed in for John Castle at The Breakfast for The Bridge and chairing The Salvation Army luncheon. Regarding Rossellini, Lynn said that she had recently seen Rossellini in “Blue Velvet” and realized that the 1986 David Lynch–directed movie was about human trafficking.
After the majority of guests like Co-Chairs Stacy Girard and Jerry Rasansky, Pam and Mark Denesuk, Hayley Hamilton Cogill and Veletta Lill took their places at tables around the room, Isabella and Elettra were led to their places.
Soon Dallas film-fount-of-knowledge Gary Cogill and Isabella were seated on stage for a chat with the 200 guests eavesdropping.
Isabella said, “Texas to me spells babies.” The reason was her former marriage to Dallas’ Jon Wiedemann and having adopting a son [Roberto Rossellini] in San Antonio.
Speaking of children, Gary asked about her own childhood to which Isabella explained, “There is no normal for anybody. Everyone’s life and family is very specific.” She fessed up that as a youngster, she and her siblings would throw water on the paparazzi stalking their mother [Ingrid Bergman].
On the topic of her mother, who would have been 100 years old this year, Isabella described her as a “subtle actress” who had a “modern way of being an actor.” On the subject of “Casablanca,” Isabella admitted that “It’s a total fantasy, yet it sucks you in. The detail is so rich.”
From her father, the late director Roberto Rossellini, she learned, “You can tell the story with whatever means you have.” She also recalled that following World War II, he helped redeem Italians in the eyes of the world with his landmark film on fascism, trying to explain, “Before you are a fascist, you are a human being.”
Regarding her own life, Isabella, who was born with scoliosis, underwent her first surgery for the condition in 1967 at the age of 13, resulting in her being in a body cast for 18 months. Just three years ago, she went through yet another surgery for the condition. Her comment? “Nowadays they have great drugs.”
Like old buddies catching up, Gary and Isabella talked about film industry types like:
- Actor/dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov: “I think he’s a genius… It isn’t the acrobatics. It’s the feeling. He still has that same power.”
- “Blue Velvet” director David Lynch: A Houston writer described it as, “Leave It to Beaver dies and goes to hell and loves it.” Dino De Laurentiis gave David Lynch a little money and said, “Make the film you want to make.” The results were “Blue Velvet.” It restored David’s confidence after “Dune.” “Blue Velvet” is “very mysterious. Frightening. Repellant and yet appealing. This is his originality.” It wasn’t so much the narrative as the atmosphere. “Mysterious forces that are around us and we don’t really know the origin of it.” Mel Brooks called David Lynch “Jimmy Stewart from Mars.”
- “Immortal Beloved” director Bernard Rose: “Immortal Beloved” was MTV director’s take on Beethoven.
- Isabella’s “Green Porno”: It’s about animal sexuality and Robert Redford produced.
- Red carpets: “I don’t like fame or walking the green carpet…er, the red carpet.”
- The love of acting: “I like telling stories. But I don’t only act. I also write and direct.”
No sooner had the twosome taken a bow, than dinner (autumn greens and radicchio with grilled Portobellos, crumbled slow roasted icotta, balsamic cipolii and “Campbell’s Tomato” vinaigrette; chianti-braised costola breve with a fontina, roasted red pepper and herb potato cake and lemon-scented broccolini with fresh baked mini-muffins, corn breads, rolls and sweet cream butter; and autumn pumpkin trifle with cream cheese mousse and toasted pepitas) was served to accompany the food for thought.
Thanks to such events like The Art of Film, the Dallas Film Society has provided $150K in scholarships to local high schools over the past nine years. Next on the scorecard will be the annual Dallas International Film Festival.